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Phillies drop series finale vs. Cardinals, Marsh exits in 8th inning with hamstring injury

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Realistically, you'll take two-of-three any day and call that a successful series.

The Phillies dropped their series finale against the Cardinals in extra innings Sunday night, 5-4. They now sit at 41-19 on the season. It's the first time since April 27 that they don't hold the most wins in MLB.

Big picture, one loss isn't the end of the world. The concern does shift to Brandon Marsh, who abruptly exited the game in the eighth inning after rounding second base. He grabbed at his leg and called for the trainers immediately. Marsh was able to walk off on his own power.

While the Phillies were able to erase two two-run deficits, but the dreaded ghost runner struck again.

With Gregory Soto on the mound, Nolan Gorman singled to score Masyn Winn. That was the game.

The first inning has not been kind to Taijuan Walker this season. Winn singled on the first pitch of the game and it eventually came back to bite Walker. Three batters later, Gorman hit a two-run home run to give the Cardinals an early lead.

Walker has allowed at least one run in the first inning in four of his seven starts.

"It's just frustrating," the starter said following the game. "Obviously, the team is playing so well right now and I just want to be a part of that and help the team. I'm just not doing my part right now."

With Marsh on first with a lead off walk in the second inning, Nick Castellanos grounded into what is typically a routine double play ball. Cardinals shortstop Winn bobbled on the transfer but the force out on Marsh was initially called. Phillies manager Rob Thomson challenged the call and the replay revealed Winn did not have possession of the ball when tagging second.

With two on, Garrett Stubbs hit his first double of the season to score Marsh. Stubbs has five hits in his last three starts.

Johan Rojas grounded out to Winn but it scored Castellanos to temporarily tie the game.

And so, the Cardinals and Phillies swapped two-run innings like a tennis match … and then ping, back to the Cardinals.

Walker allowed another two-run home run. This time, he let one hang right over the plate to Alec Burleson, putting the Cardinals ahead once again. This marks Walker's second game this season where he allowed two home runs. He's given up eight total.

Walker did not retire the side once in his five innings Sunday night.

Ping, back to the Phillies.

Let's start an inning with back-to-back bunts, because why not?

The first two pitches in the fifth, Stubbs and Rojas bunted to get on base. The third pitch tacked on a Kyle Schwarber single and, very quickly, the Phillies had the bases loaded with no one out and Bryson Stott at the plate.

Stott singled, both bunt boys scored, and once again, things were all tied up. That was the end of the night for Cardinals' starter Lance Lynn, who went just four innings. Two runs was all the Phillies could muster up, though.

Coming up …

The Phillies have a week full of headlines ahead of them. They're set to host the Brewers the next three days, marking Rhys Hoskins' first time back in Philadelphia since signing with Milwaukee as a free agent.

The Brewers have not named their starting pitchers for the series but expect Zack Wheeler (6-3, 2.32 ERA), Cristopher Sanchez (3-3, 2.83 ERA) and Aaron Nola (7-2, 3.03 ERA) for the Phillies in that order.

Then, the Phils travel across the pond for a two-game slate against the Mets for the 2024 London Series. It will be the third time they face the Mets this year and are currently up on the season series 3-1.

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